Lights, camera, ticket.
Cameras identifying drivers who do not stop at stop lights at two of River Forest's busiest intersections will be going live in a matter of weeks.
Trustees approved red-light cameras in October 2011, but were required to get approval from the state, because they will be installed on Illinois routes.
The cameras have been posted at the intersections of Harlem and North avenues and Harlem and Lake Street for nearly a month. When they officially go live and begin to record infractions, locations will be posted on the River Forest website, said Michael Braiman, River Forest's assistant village manager.
The devices will take a picture of the license plate of the car getting the citation and a video of the infraction. Whether the driver runs a red light, or fails to stop at a red light before turning right, they'll get a ticket. Drivers will get the citation in the mail, which includes a link to a website where they can watch the violation itself, said Police Chief Greg Weiss.
If drivers want to contest the citation, they can go to an administrative adjudication hearing, where a judge will review the video and determine if it is an infraction, Weiss said.
The fine for running a read or turning right without stopping is set at $100, with the village getting $60 of that, Braiman said. There is no estimate of how much money the village will get this year from the citations. He said the village wasn't anticipating budgeting any money in 2014 for it.
Trustees threw their support behind red light cameras, saying the devices will be a boon to traffic safety. Together, the intersections targeted for cameras saw 93 crashes from 2006 to 2010. In 2009 and 2010 there were 65 accidents with more than $1,500 in damages reported at both intersections. Weiss has said the cameras would keep officers from making potentially dangerous traffic stops for red light infractions on those busy roads.
The devices are owned and maintained by Safe Speed Inc., a Chicago-based firm that operates cameras in several Chicagoland suburbs, including Berwyn, Melrose Park and Hillside. Village officials have said the company was chosen because they offered, "much more authority over the process of who's cited and who isn't."
Weiss, who received a similar citation from Oak Lawn more than a year ago, said it wasn't a pleasant experience. However, he said he understood the process after watching the video.
"I know what it's like." Weiss said. "I paid the ticket without arguing it once I saw the video."
Officials noted that the citation does not go against a person's driving record.
The controversial measure was proposed four years ago, but tabled when the village could not come to terms with the initial technology provider RedSpeed, Oak Leaves reported.
Trustees vying to become River Forest's next village president are on opposing sides of the issue. Mike Gibbs has backed the measure. Catherine Adduci recused herself from discussion because her husband, Al Ronan, was a chief lobbyist for RedSpeed Camera. Oak Leaves reported that she would not have voted for it.